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Monday, 27 June 2022

Three Journey's End Wines

Three wines from South Africa's Journey's End

I have written about Journey's End previously; they are based in one of the coolest parts of South Africa just 6km from the coast in Stellenbosch where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet, bringing moderating breezes.

The winery's name is a reference to owner Roger Gabb who moved there in the 1980s after founding, building and selling two highly successful and profitable businesses in the drinks trade. Whether the name refers a culmination of his aspirations or is a note-to-self that "this it it and no more" is a moot point; the business is now run day-to-day by son Rollo with Roger as Non-Executive Chairman.

A Bit of Tasting History

The first time I tried these wines, I found them quite closed-up when pouring straight from the bottle. 

I'd been sent four wines to choose for a tasting I was running and was able to allow myself time to try them over a number of days to see which I thought would work best. I found that some of them were only just starting to open up by the fifth day and would clearly keep improving with further aeration.

At the tasting itself, winemaker Mike Dawson joined online from South Africa and explained that the wines are made in a very low oxygen environment, which preserves the fruit flavours in the wines; this is done with an eye more on the US and far eastern markets that Europe.

A year later and with an updated vintage, I found this set of wines showed much more expressively on first opening and wondered if the oxygen regime had been tweaked or adjusted in some way.

According to Mike, this is not the case and there has been no change in winemaking style to change the way the wines show on opening; the greater initial expressiveness is just a result of climate, vintage  and other external variations.

There are also a few minor variations to some of the blends, a percentage point here or there, but not enough to make a perceptible difference.

All three wines here were well-made and expressive with food-friendly freshness and complexity.

Haystack Chardonnay 2021 Coastal Region (Noble Green, Single Price: £14.00, Mixed 6 Price: £13.00)

stone fruits, blossom and honeysuckle; crisp and elegant with saline minerality; white stone fruits, some toastiness amnd warming spice, honeydew melon and citrussy lemon-and-lime; good underpinnings with creamy-leesy brazil nut; long and savoury.

Drinks nicely on first pouring; can be cellared.


A versatile food wine, match with white meat dishes, white fish and creamy cheeses.

Wild Child Grenache Rosé 2021 Western Cape, Stellenbosch (Noble Green: Single Price: £13.50, Mixed 6 Price: £12.50)

delicate soft red fruits and fresh green herbs; fresh strawberries and cherries, mintiness and leesy brazil nut with a touch of white pepper

Drinks nicely on first pouring.

Well-made and thoroughly pleasant.

A versatile food wine, match with griddled vegetables, mixed starters of antipasti or mezze or any picnic foods.

The Huntsman Shiraz Mourvedre Grenache 2020 Stellenbosch (Noble Green, £14.00, Mixed 6 Price: £13.00)

ripe dark-berry fruits, roasted spices and fynbos aka Mediterranean herbs; cassis and baked black fruits with black olive; supple and inky with very fine, well-integrated tannins; dark plummy fruit and eucalyptus; warming with grilled notes and some pencil shavings

Drinks nicely on first pouring.


Match with peppery roast beef or spicy barbecued meats.

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